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Colorado Neuropsychological Consulting                    Stephen S. Kalat, Ph.D  
Recovering from Mild Head Injury

Concussions are one the most common neurological events that are seen in medical and neurological practices. Eighty percent of traumatic brain injuries are classified as "mild" and are defined by the symptoms that occur at the time of the injury. Concussions involving less than 20 minutes loss of consciousness, or less than 24 hours of patchy memory or amnesia, or involve confusion or an alteration of consciousness at the time of the injury are defined as "mild". Many minor concussions recover naturally over time. Others are complicated by orthopedic injuries, posttraumatic stress or emotional factors, or problems with readjustment at work or socially.

Neuropsychological assessment can clarify the complex factors affecting recovery from a concussion and aid in planning treatments for recovery.

-Recovery from Mild Head Injury requires some patience. Some people find at first that symptoms make it difficult to return to work, perform daily activities, or even just relax.
-The best way to deal with this is to resume activities and responsibilities gradually, a little at a time. Initially (i.e., the first few days or possibly weeks), it is important to respect the presence of symptoms. Research shows and most practitioners agree that recovery is ultimately faster when rest is taken as needed and responsibilities are resumed gradually.
-After leaving a hospital, one week of relaxing at home followed by a week of gradually increasing activities is best for most individuals. Often individuals are back to work or school within three to four weeks.
-Ignoring symptoms or trying to ‘tough it out’ does not seem to be helpful and may be harmful in raising one's anxiety about recovery.  
-Individuals who do not receive guidance or advice about the recovery process, often take longer to return to their normal routine. They also report more symptoms than those who return to their routines gradually.
-Everyday stress can be an important cause of some of these symptoms. Experiencing a head trauma may cause everyday stress to worsen. Of course, a brain injury can directly cause these same symptoms from physical harm to the brain. The incident itself, being in the hospital, and going back to work or school are all things that may add stress to an individual’s life. Financial concerns or time constraints may arise. There may be other bodily injuries to cope with as well. 
-Generally, engaging with regular work involvements immediately after a brain injury could be compared to playing baseball or swimming with a pulled muscle. The injury is not outwardly visible and it takes some time to get better.
-Worrying about symptoms also contributes to stress after a head injury.
-Individuals who receive information about their injury seem to recover faster and feel better during recovery than patients who do not get such information. 
-Having strategies for coping with concentration problems, irritability, fatigue, and memory problems is likely to be helpful.

(From Recovering from Mild Brain Injury/Concussion: A Guide for Patients.)

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